Three Saracens in Lions squad for series decider
Three Saracens are in the matchday squad for the final test of the series against South Africa on Saturday.
Maro Itoje starts once again in the second-row, with Mako Vunipola and Elliot Daly on the bench.
Head Coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the starting XV which lost to the Springboks last Saturday in Cape Town.
The defeat sees the Castle Lager Lions Series level at 1-1 going into this weekend’s final Test match.
The Tour’s leading try-scorer, Josh Adams, makes his Lions Test debut on the right wing joining Duhan van der Merwe who keeps his place on the left. Former Saracen Liam Williams is added at full back to complete the back three.
Bundee Aki is included at inside centre to win his first Test cap, joining Robbie Henshaw who switches to 13.
Dan Biggar is retained at fly-half with Ali Price starting at scrum half having been named as a replacement last weekend.
In the pack, there are two changes to the front-row with injury-free Wyn Jones taking his place on the loosehead to make his Lions Test debut alongside Ken Owens, who is promoted from the bench to start his first Test of the Tour at hooker. Tadhg Furlong continues on the tighthead to win his sixth-successive Test cap.
Alun Wyn Jones is named as captain to win his 12th consecutive cap moving him alongside Graham Price (1977 – 1983) and Mike Gibson (1966 – 1974) in the list of most Lions Test appearances. The iconic Welshman is again partnered in the second row by Maro Itoje.
The back row remains the same with Courtney Lawes at blind side flanker, Tom Curry on the open side and Jack Conan at No. 8.
On the bench, Adam Beard, Finn Russell, and Sam Simmonds feature for the first time in the Test Series and will all win their first Lions cap should they take the field.
“The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them – to seal a Lions Series victory in South Africa,” said Gatland.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than this and we’re excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.
“We’ve no excuses from last week, the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second half performance, and I believe we will be.”
Saturday’s clash against the reigning World Champions is the final Test match in the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series and will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports.
SOUTH AFRICA v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
Saturday 7 August 2021
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 5pm (BST)
15 Liam Williams
14 Josh Adams
13 Robbie Henshaw
12 Bundee Aki
11 Duhan van der Merwe
10 Dan Biggar
9 Ali Price
1 Wyn Jones
2 Ken Owens
3 Tadhg Furlong
4 Maro Itoje
5 Alun Wyn Jones
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Tom Curry
8 Jack Conan
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie
17 Mako Vunipola
18 Kyle Sinckler
19 Adam Beard
20 Sam Simmonds
21 Conor Murray
22 Finn Russell
23 Elliot Daly